A Complete Online Lesson Plan For Struggling ESL Teachers
It’s no secret that times are getting tougher all over the world. But here in Asia, one type of professional who needs extra help is the ESL teacher who travelled to be here.
Money is stretching thin for all of us teachers, with many of us unable to find work anymore. Schools have been shut down in China for months, and they’re beginning to be shut down in surrounding countries as the virus spreads further.
Many ESL teachers have already gone home, but some of us don’t have anything to go home to. To those teachers I say, it’s time to get innovative. You’ve either got to tutor someone, or start getting into online classes.
There are a lot of companies out there who will hire you, both on the ground in Asia and over the internet. However if you find a gig, you’re going to need a lesson plan.
Here below I present an introductory lesson plan for a reading, writing, and speaking class. You can use it during your first online lesson, then write your own material going forward. You need to nail the first lesson so that the company your teaching for will keep you on staff.
To teach this lesson you’ll need to find the Roald Dahl short story ‘The Enormous Crocodile.’ You can find it wherever children’s storybooks are sold, or by sourcing one of the many PDF’s floating around online. This lesson is designed for students aged 5–8 with a simple grasp of English.
Best of luck with your first lesson, and I hope you find your way soon. This plan is for a 2 hour lesson broken into three 40 minute sections. Each section is focused on either reading, writing, or speaking.
Reading, Writing, and Speaking Class Online: Lesson #1
Class Lesson Plan: 1st Lesson
Sector: Introduction to the course
Skill: Sentence Structure — Basic
Goal for the Lesson
Reading: The students are looking for and identifying sentences.
Writing: To learn and properly structure a sentence.
Speaking: Use sentence structure to make a speech as the crocodile.
Achievements from the Lesson
Reading: The students will understand the fundamentals of sentences.
Writing: The students will correctly structure a sentence.
Speaking: The students will correctly speak in well formed sentences.
Reading Material: The Enormous Crocodile
The Focus of the Reading: Identifying sentences from among blocks of text.
First Segment: Reading — 40 minutes
Welcome students to the course and set expectations for learning and behaviour. Remember, course is being taught with the assumption that you’ll be teaching it over an online platform. If you plan to teach it in person, you’ll need to change the plan accordingly.
- Teacher should instruct the children to signal the teacher whenever they want to speak.
- They should try their best to learn and concentrate.
- They shouldn’t turn their cameras off except during break time
- They should do their homework and communicate any problems with their homework over WeChat (or whichever communication platform you use).
- They should indicate to the teacher whenever they don’t understand what’s being taught.
- They should never pretend to understand whenever they don’t know what’s happening or what they’re reading.
- They shouldn’t correct each other while another student is reading aloud, this is the job of the teacher.
- The best student is a note-taking student. Students should write as many things down as possible, especially everything from the board and any good advice given by the teacher.
Teacher introduces the concept of sentences. Write a sentence on the whiteboard such as “I went to the store today” and “Tania and I went to the store today.” Tell the students that while we’re reading, they should look for one sentence that is their “favourite” sentence. They should think about what they’d like to see, perhaps the longest, the shortest, or the funniest.
Students each take a turn in reading aloud from the material while the others silently read along. Depending on the number of students, each student may read aloud between 4–7 minutes each. Teacher should judge the students understanding and provide any clarity that’s needed throughout the reading. The teacher should also stop after each child has finished and ask opinions from the kids regarding what was read.
Teacher will run the students through what was just read, and the class will discuss the reading material together. Teacher will write notes on the whiteboard that highlight the important parts of the reading material.
Second Segment: Writing — 40 minutes
We discuss the sentences the students chose as their favourites and analyse them for sentence structure. Students should tell the teacher their favourite, and each sentence should be written on the board.
Teacher now sets a task.
Each student should choose one of the sentences on the board, then write a followup sentence that could plausibly come after. The students should be allowed 8 minutes to complete the task.
Students will tell the teacher their sentences and the teacher will write them on the board after the ones already written there. Teacher will give feedback and make changes that are necessary to make the sentences more correct. He/She will also explain why s/he’s making those changes.
Students will be told a short story by the teacher, then suddenly the teacher will stop talking. Students will be asked to write a single sentence about what will happen next. Students should be given 6 minutes to achieve this.
Once they’ve completed the sentences, teacher should write them on the board and correct any mistakes.
The goal is that the students can write a sentence that is free of errors and actually looks like a sentence. If the students write pieces of text that aren’t sentences, the teacher can gently explain what they’ve done wrong.
Any story would be fine, including the following example. “Today I went to the store to buy some chocolate. After leaving the store I saw something I’ll never forget…”
Third Segment: Speaking — 40 minutes
Teacher gives the instruction to think about the motivation of the enormous crocodile. Why did he want what he wanted? How did he talk? How did he think? The goal is that the teacher wants the students to think creatively. We’re looking to tap inspiration from the students in an aim to pursue creative thinking.
The students will come up with ideas for the crocodiles thoughts and the teacher will write them on the whiteboard. If needed, the teacher can get the ball rolling with thoughts that include the following examples.
“I am very hungry today,” “I wish I was a zebra,” “I want to eat a horse.”
Students will be asked to write a 3 sentence self introduction during which they will be an enormous crocodile themselves. They need to think from the mind of the crocodile, put themselves in his shoes. Students will have 8 minutes to complete this exercise. Teacher can provide an example, such as the following,
“Hello, I am a crocodile and my name is Bill. I love to eat horses and walk slowly. Today I saw a sunset and it was beautiful.”
Students will write their speech with the teacher providing assistance whenever necessary.
Students will present their speeches, followed by teacher feedback. Teacher must listen closely to the speech, and focus on one piece of important feedback for each student. Students should write the advice down.
Teacher will set the homework and write it on the board.
The homework is as follows:
‘We have read the Enormous Crocodile,’ however I want to know what is next. Please write me a new story called ‘the Enormous Crocodile 2; Even More Enormous!’ This story should have 4 sentences, and should carry on where the existing story left off.’
Teacher should answer the students questions regarding homework or what was taught. If the students have no questions, ask them what they each liked best about today’s lesson.
I hope you’ve found inspiration from the above lesson. If you need to, make any changes you feel appropriate so that the lesson better suits your style. If you have any questions or need clarification on something, please let me know in the comments.
I know it’s hard right now, but hang in there. We’re all in this together.